The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entered the 2013 season coming off a national title appearance and the loss of starting quarterback, Everett Golson, and star linebacker, Manti Te’o. This team has a new look and the Irish already have as many losses in 2013 as they had all of last season with a record of 2-1.
On the other side of the field, the Michigan State Spartans are looking to avenge last year’s home loss to the Fighting Irish in which they were shut down 20-3. The Spartans are still looking for an identity on offense as the defense is one of the best in the nation. This is sure to be an interesting rivalry game.
Notre Dame’s offense has been up-and-down so far this season with senior quarterback Tommy Rees under center. Rees has 969 yards and seven touchdowns this season while leading the 16th best passing attack in the nation so far in 2013. The run game is one of the worst in the nation, averaging just 125 yards per game with Cam McDaniel and Amir Carlisle splitting time.
Michigan State’s offense was horrid through the first two weeks, averaging just over 23 points per game against two lowly opponents, while the defense kept them alive. In fact, through two weeks, the Spartan defense scored more touchdowns than the offense. However, week three was a different story as sophomore Connor Cook took the starting quarterback job away from senior Andrew Maxwell. Many would think that the run game would suffer after losing Le’Veon Bell, but the Spartans average over 200 yards per game on the ground behind a three-back attack.
Defensively, the Fighting Irish are not the same team as they were a season ago. In fact, the Fighting Irish were one of the best defenses in the nation in 2012, but have allowed over 350 yards twice this season while ranking in the middle of the nation in points allowed per game (23.7). Michigan State, on the other hand, has had one of the top-10 defenses in the nation for years. The most yards they have allowed in a single game this season has been 204 and they allow just 12 points per game. It could be a long day for Rees and the Irish offense.
Michigan State will travel to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 21. The game will be aired on NBC.
PREDICTION: Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 17